Day By Day

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran Updates

Events are moving fast in Iran as post-election riots have broken out all across the country. The Komenhist regime, installed during the Islamist Revolution more than thirty years seems to be in real trouble and is cracking down hard. I'm not going to try to keep abreast of what is happening, but will be following a few sites that are posting updated reports out of Iran.

One of the best is Michael Totten. He was consistently one of the few voices coming out of Iraq who could be relied on to tell you what was happening without trying to spin it. Read his reports here. He has lots of pictures and video too.

For a left-wing bizzaro perspective read Andrew Sullivan over at the Atlantic [here]. He's been posting regularly.

For a left-wing academic perspective there is Juan Cole. He posts some useful information and analysis if you ignore his lefty ravings. [here]

Anti-regime Iranian expats are following the turmoil here at Tehran Bureau.

The regime has shut down all Facebook, Youtube, and mobile phone services so the information coming out will be sparse. [here]

BBC's news updates here.

For conservative, pro-Israel coverage go to Daniel Pipes here.

Marc Ambinder, a moderate, over at the Atlantic is twittering Iran here.

And there are constant updates from a number of sources here.

And of course, if you sign up for Twitter you can follow posts on Iran here.

I am cautiously optimistic. There have been a number of positive developments in the Muslim world recently -- the Lebanese elections, the Pakistani offensive against the Taliban, the expansion of US operations in Afghanistan, and news that al Qaeda is abandoning Pakistan for Africa, and these have led some commentators to express hope that this signals another round of democratic reform in the region. But, I remember the upsurge of hope attached to the democratic revolutions that followed America's attack on Saddam's regime in Iraq. There were real changes throughout the region, but most of them were rolled back in succeeding years. The Iranian uprising has been compared to the Solidarity movement in Poland, to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. None of these, I think, is an adequate model, although Lebanon might come close. In the end I do not expect the mullahs to be overthrown and a true democracy instituted in Iran, but at the least I expect that the excesses of the current regime will be curbed by this demonstration of massive popular unrest.

Regarding the American reaction to events in Iran. Once again Obama is trying to straddle the issue and have it both ways. Critics are calling for decisive action to support the revolt. I think they are wrong. Sometimes Obama's default position of indecisiveness can be frustrating, but this time I think it is the best option available. The situation in Iran is too problematic and too inconclusive for strong action of any kind. Best right now to wait and see what develops.